I Love Chipotle
I have now been at Fool HQ for over 2 weeks. I felt it was time for a proper first post, unlike that 3 sentence piece I rushed out on my first day.
I received a better-than-expected reception to my earlier post, so I thought I'd write another one addressing some comments and giving some random other thoughts. I think people wanted to know about my background and the Analyst Development Program in particular, if I remember correctly.
Pronunciation of "Babo"
If you're like 100% of people at Fool HQ, you're pronouncing "babo" wrong. Phonetically, it's pronounced bah-bo. Bahbo looks downright nasty, so you can see why I write it as babo. That's also the way I've written it since I was a kid, so I guess it works out.
Why babo? "Babo" means "Fool" in Korean. In hindsight, I should've been TMFChipotle since I freaking love Chipotle (I even talked about it at my interview with 2 different people), but a complete name change from "bullishbabo" to "TMFChipotle" would've been too drastic.
A Little About Me
I have an electrical engineering degree from Johns Hopkins University. Right out of school, I was hired at a steel company. I developed an interest in investing after I had already started my engineering career.
My first individual stock pick was COH in October 2008 at around $18.40. Although I don't own it anymore, I still feel a little excitement when I see a Coach store in a mall. For someone who had never owned any stock before, I was quite confident in my choice. I now know how naive I was back then, but it served as a valuable starting point.
I can honestly say that CAPS was instrumental in my development as an investor. In my 2 years here, I've grown tremendously. Not knowing anyone in real life to talk to about my ideas, I turned to the CAPS community. I've spent anywhere from 3 minutes to 10 hours researching various picks. The experience trying to beat the market has been quite invaluable. I also learned plenty from comments, pitches, blogs, and what have you.
Another reason for my rapid development as an investor is my appetite for reading. One of my favorite quotes from Buffett is to "read everything in sight." In only 2 years, I've already read The Intelligent Investor twice, along with a fair number of other books. My "reading list" post (which wasn't that extensive) has been linked a decent amount in the past here on CAPS. I'll post an updated reading list in the next few months - I have some good additions.
I can honestly tell you that some nights, I would come home from work, sit down at my computer, and research stocks or read investment-related stuff for 8 hours straight. I did that at least a few times. Obviously, I loved this stuff.
I toyed around with the idea of jumping ship for the finance industry several times over the past year or so, but I found a few roadblocks: (1) ridiculously long workweeks of 70 to 80 hours or more, (2) the massive layoffs at financial firms since the collapse of 2007-2009, and (3) some other junk I can't remember at the moment.
On Labor Day weekend, my brother convinced me to jump ship. I also talked to a friend of his that had tried to break into the industry before and was convinced I could break in. Before I could start looking seriously at Wall Street firms and at boutique research firms, I (luckily) stumbled onto the Fool.com job posting site here. I applied for the Financial Editor/Analyst position and the Analyst Development Program.
I won't bore you with the details on how I prepared for the interview, but I studied my behind off. I have received 5 interviews in my life, 3 of which turned into job offers. The times I received offers, I can honestly say it was due to nothing more than ridiculous preparation.
Analyst Development Program
Before I get into the ADP, I'll tell you a bit about the structure of a newsletter's investment team. There's the advisor, whose name goes out on all the picks. Under the advisor, there are analysts. Obviously, I am an analyst-in-development. Once I graduate from the program, I believe the idea is that I will be an analyst.
The collection of talent here at Fool HQ is quite impressive. I am absolutely in the bottom handful in terms of talent at the moment. On my services, Alpha and Big Short, I work for two advisors who have managed money at hedge funds with great success. The analyst for these services, Matt Argersinger (TMFMattyA), is also quite good and I look forward to learning from him and the advisors.
Last week (or was it two weeks ago), I went to a monthly pitch meeting by the 4 ADP guys who've only been here 9 months and they're already doing pretty impressive stock pitches. The one to thank for the investor development is Buck Hartzell (TMFBuck). If what I've heard from others is correct, I have a ton of readings and other goodies in store as I go through the ADP stuff.
I think I can definitely step up my game and become a strong analyst, but my work is obviously cut out for me. There are a lot of smart people here and they all have more experience. I look forward to catching up as fast as possible.
Working at The Motley Fool
This place is awesome. My ADP counterpart Joe Tenebruso (TMFGuardian) and I still talk about it and shake our heads. We both still can't believe we're here. Joe's been a Stock Advisor subscriber for a long time and he loves The Fool. I'm a bit different in that I spent all of my time at CAPS, but I knew I wanted to work here after looking around at the pictures and video special on the website. I could tell just from the website features that this place had a special culture.
After spending a few weeks here, I can tell you it's everything I expected and more. I've met many people who tell me the "I can't believe I work here" feeling doesn't go away, even after years of working at The Fool. I have so many things I want to do, but not enough time. I want to write Fool.com articles, learn how to use the research tools provided, make some decent financial models, research every pick in my two services, start pitching my own ideas eventually, and more. Almost every day, I look at the clock and I get the "holy crap, it's already 5 PM" shock. I don't think I'll ever be watching the clock here.
Fool HQ vs. External Fools
On the day I interviewed, I had the chance to see if I could meet Fools I'd only known by their TMF names on CAPS. I was able to meet TMFJake and TMFCHarris. I did find out, however, that a lot of people with TMF in their names aren't necessarily at Fool HQ. I believe that includes some beloved CAPS names such as TMFSinchiruna, TMFDeej, and now TMFUltraLong.
As I get more involved with my services on the boards, I know I'll get to know more of these names. TMFMurph sticks out in my mind as a very helpful poster on Alpha and Big Short.
I'm just curious: how many of you here on CAPS subscribe to a service? I remember describing to someone here at Fool HQ that my impression was that CAPS members were mostly DIY investors with no newsletter subscriptions (like myself). Am I right? Am I wrong?
That's it for my brain dump. I hope that covers the initial curiosity about the new position, my thought process, and all that junk.